If Green Bay Packers General Manager Ted Thompson is to follow the lead of quarterback Aaron Rodgers and go “all-in” with his approach to NFL Free Agency, many of the team’s holes and issues may be resolved.
But will Thompson actually depart from his past practice of acting like a shrinking violet when it comes to free agency and break out the check book this year?
I have my doubts, as does most of Packers Nation
If there was any sliver of hope that the team’s issues with injuries and it’s abrupt exit from the playoffs could sway Thompson to jump into the free agency fray, it came this past week when Ian Rapoport reported that there is talk about Thompson actually bringing in veteran players to help offset his draft and develop ways.
Here’s what Rapoport had to say: “There certainly are some indications that the Packers will be a little more aggressive in free agency this year. From what I’m told, I would think the Packers are going to go and get some free agents this year, along with trying to re-sign Jared Cook, that is a priority for them.”
OK, we know it’s a priority, but everyone outside the organization has been saying that since Thompson took over as general manager more than a decade ago.
Aside from re-signing his own free agents – which in my opinion is the right thing to do – Thompson has never picked up any big name players who demand big money.
Yes, last year’s signing of Jared Cook to a $2.75 million single-year contract appears to be one of the better moves by Thompson over the recent past.
But if this team is going to develop a locker room that has a balance of experience and youth, as well as added depth, Thompson has to take a “win-now” attitude while keeping an eye on the future.
All Thompson has to do is take a look back in Packers recent history at the work that his predecessor, Ron Wolf, completed while he was at the helm of the team. While that was a different era, the lessons that can be learned are important.
Wolf was not afraid to use the trade as a tool to bring in players of talent at specific positions.
Not only did Ron Wolf build one of the best defenses back in the mid-1990s with his “aggressive” approach, but it was never beyond the Hall of Fame general manager to pull off a trade here and there as well. In fact, Wolf was very active with the waiver wire and through the trade avenue when he was in Green Bay.
As far as trading, who can forget Thompson’s guts in pulling the trigger on the trade that brought Brett Favre to Green Bay?
I’m sure everyone understands how that turned out.
But what other lessons can Thompson learn about looking at his predecessor and how to build a team?
Let’s look a bit closer.